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Local Church Publishes Groundbreaking New History With Madison Roots

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BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Saint James Catholic Church announced the publication of a new parish history called "Remember… Celebrate… Believe." The book chronicles the development of the Catholic Church in northern Somerset and southern Morris counties.  

The project started during the parish’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2014. Various essays and booklets on Saint James existed, but the celebration organizers began to ask, “How do we know what we know?” and, “Can we find out more about our properties, priests and people.” The ensuing effort took over three years, and the authors were careful to cite their sources to aid future researchers.

Saint James began as a mission church served by priests from St. Vincent Martyr in Madison and Assumption parish in Morristown. 

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The church was incorporated in 1864 with the Rev. Lawrence A. Hoey of Morristown as its first pastor. For several years, the pastors of Saint James doubled as pastors for St. Joseph Church in Mendham. 

Then in 1898, the Diocese of Trenton established a new parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in Bernardsville, and Saint James became a mission again, attached to Bernardsville. 

In 1948, Saint James was reestablished as a separate parish in the original church building with mission churches of its own: Our Lady of the Mount in Mount Bethel and Blessed Sacrament in Martinsville. 

Established in 1965, Saint James developed rapidly in the following decades, building new churches in 1958 and again in 1999. 

During the 2001 World Trade Center attack, 13 parishioners or loved ones of parishioners were killed. In response, the parish formed a bereavement group and dedicated a Sept. 11 Oratory featuring a cross fashioned with wreckage from the twin towers. Today Saint James boasts one of the largest congregations in the Diocese of Metuchen.  

The history is told in a timeline format interspersed with color and vintage black-and-white photographs, documents, newspaper articles, biographies of clergy and reminiscences. The book also covers the development of Saint James School and numerous parish ministries. 

The fully-indexed history of Saint James is available for $25. To order your copy, click here. For more information, contact the church via email at stjamesbr@optonline.net.

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